UL To Archive Every UK Website…Ever!

Tweets, Facebook posts and billions of web pages will be forever preserved by the UL, as of today.

archive blogs british library Facebook Internet online record twitter UL University Library will heilpern

Cambridge’s University Library will be a key player in a new, ambitious project to archive all UK websites, including public Facebook posts, Twitter updates and internet blogs.

Today, 6th April, is a momentous day in the history of the Internet. It marks landmark legislation which will allow six libraries to archive every one of the billion pages of the 4.8 million active UK websites.

Thanks to the UL, the tweets of Rio Ferdinand will be preserved forever

Five other major libraries will take part in the scheme: Oxford’s Bodleian, the library of Trinity College, Dublin, as well as the British Library and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.

Despite the common misconception that everything ever published on the internet is preserved somewhere eternally, Richard Gibby – a British Library official – pointed that the average life span of a web page is only 75 days. Consequently, many websites of the past are now permanently irretrievable.

Anne Jarvis, librarian at Cambridge’s UL, said: “I greatly welcome this landmark legislation as it means that Cambridge University Library can collect and preserve the UK’s digital publishing output, particularly that which will support current and future research.”

The project has been in planning for the last 10 years and will even allow the public access to content which is currently restricted by paywalls. The project is particularly aimed at the historians and social researchers of the future. Any Cantabs keen to reminisce with old webpages will have privileged and convenient access in the UL reading rooms.

The Tab must stress, particularly to those with Facebook photos of themselves whilst drunk, naked or asleep, that these laws only allow the record of public activity. Though of course, today would be an excellent day to review privacy settings.

Change your Facebook privacy settings, or end up like this guy

In honour of the news, the British Library has compiled a list of the top 100 websites which they believe will be of interest to future generations.

Somewhat dubiously, The Tab has not been included, whilst a website dedicated to the misguided pursuit of ‘Glamping’ has.